Book Review – Larry by Adam Millard

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Larry by Adam Millard is the twisted and brutal tale of a pig mask-wearing killer, stalking college kids in a seemingly never-ending woodland. It’s got it all; the creepy wooden cabin- check, the teens drinking and smoking weed- check, the sexing- check, the arguing and banter- check, the way they’re effectively dispatched of with psychotic precision- well, sort of check.

Larry, or Pigface, was once a great serial killer but over the last 36 years after hanging up the axe, he’s been itching to get back out there and carry on his great work. Unfortunately, he’s not as good as he used to be, and this is the story’s great strength.

This slasher tale is pretty short so I managed to whizz through it in a couple of hours or so, as though I was actually watching a grainy B Movie where everyone dies. Well not everyone dies here, of course, there’s the ‘final girl decree,’ something that Pigface is all too familiar with.

The book’s a fun and silly ride, and I mean that in the most positive of ways. The plot twists and turns are certainly nothing new and are very cliched, but the book knows this and plays upon it with great wit and satire. The conversations between killer and victim, when Larry asks them to ‘just hold on a minute’ while he gets his breath back, had me chuckling (or squealing) away to myself.

Without giving too much away, although there’s not too much of the unexpected going on, seven college kids arrive at a run-down cabin in the woods. There’s the stereotypical banter, the awkward kid that fancies the hot girl, a brief bit of back story and characterisation, and then the killing commences.

Normally in a book of this genre you need to know enough about the victims to care about them and root for them when Pigface comes calling. This one doesn’t provide that, so on face value you could argue that it fails in the whole set-up. But this isn’t true, as the main character here is Larry, and that’s who we really care about. We see how he hates his moonshine-drinkin’ redneck mother and has frequent heated conversations with his pig mask; he, for example, requests Larry eat a breath mint before putting him on again. The only creatures he actually feels close to are his intestinal worms. Hell, I love Larry.

And because of all this, he isn’t really that scary. I didn’t find myself hoping that the victims would escape him or evade capture, because then all the fun wouldn’t have happened. The Larry in his sixties is a pretty crap killer, but he still manages it and for that we have to applaud him.

If I was going to be picky (and I’m going to be), I would say that the killings, although gruesome, didn’t seem to churn my stomach like I hoped they would. Yeah there’s decapitations and faces being sliced off, and I’ll never look at a Super Nintendo controller in the same way, but a few more brutal descriptions would have floated my sick-boat on a sea of blood and gore just a little more. But these are small grievances and didn’t really spoil anything for me, so I guess that’s OK.

There’s also not much on how Larry came to actually be Pigface. A short chapter explains something that happened to him as a seven year old, but this didn’t seem to be the catalyst for his change in, erm, lifestyle. But perhaps the not knowing makes it all the more creepier. Yeah, lets go with that.

The ending is cheesy, but again, it knows it is. When summing it all up, Adam actually writes ‘if this were a film or a book, you wouldn’t pay more than three bucks for it…’ Well I did, and I’m glad I did. This was my first delve into the blood-splattered world of Adam Millard, and it won’t be my last. Perhaps I’ll have to check out Larry II and Larry 3D!

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